News & Events

UMPI presents Black Maria Film Festival

An international juried film competition comes to town for a celebration of the art of movie-making when the University of Maine at Presque Isle presents the Black Maria Film Festival on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. Festival Executive Director Jane Steuerwald will present the evening’s offerings, from documentary to animation to narrative short films. This family-friendly event, made possible through a collaboration between UMPI and the University of Maine at Fort Kent, is free and open to the public. UMFK will host a festival tour stop on Oct. 25.

This program, part of the Black Maria Film Festival’s 36th Annual Festival tour, will be presented in-person by Steuerwald, and will feature a collection of stellar works touring with the festival this season. The selections include animation, narrative, and documentary films from the top award-winning works chosen by the festival jury.

One of the featured films is Preparations for the Forest: A Portrait of David Footer by Daniel Mooney of Melrose, MA. Filmed over the course of four years, wildlife artist and taxidermist David Footer looks back at his life and his relationship with the natural world. Another featured film that will be shown at the festival is The Last Projectionist by Eugene Lehnert of Brooklyn, NY. This film is about a family struggling to keep their drive-in movie spot open or making the tough decision to close their business. Make them Believe by Taimi Arvidson of Brooklyn, NY, tells a story about a college student from Russia who wants to be a wrestler and fights all odds to do so. Immediately following the screening, Steuerwald will conduct a Q&A with the audience.

The Black Maria Film Festival was founded in 1981 as a tribute to Thomas Edison’s development of the motion picture at his first-in-the-world laboratory, dubbed the “Black Maria” film studio, in West Orange, NJ. The Festival attracts and showcases the work of independent filmmakers internationally. The film festival travels to locations from New Jersey to California, and as far away as the city of Rome, Italy.

“We are so pleased to bring Jane Steuerwald and the Black Maria Film Festival to our campus,” UMPI President Ray Rice said. “In just under 70 minutes, participants will get the opportunity to view a diverse body of works that have been curated specifically for our campus and community. We’re looking forward to the screening and encourage all to attend this family-friendly cultural event.”

The Festival is a project of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium, an independent non-profit organization in residence at New Jersey City University’s Department of Media Arts. For more information about this special evening, contact Gayla Shaw in UMPI’s Community and Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452 or email umpi@maine.edu, or Jane Steuerwald, Black Maria Film Festival Executive Director, at 201-200-2043 or jane@blackmariafilmfestival.org. For more information about the Black Maria Film Festival, visit its website at www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.